If you suffer from an emotional or mental disability and need an emotional support animal to travel by air, then Virgin Atlantic is here to help.

However, before you fly there are some things you will need to keep in mind and have ready. Let’s explore what it entails to travel with an assistance animal through Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic Policy for Emotional Support Animals

Your emotional support animal or service dog is allowed inside the cabin of the Virgin Atlantic; however, you must have the following criteria;

  1. Formal identification from the UK Department of Health
  2. Be qualified by one of the following organizations;
  • Canine Partners
  • Dogs for Good
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
  • Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
  • Support Dogs

This applies to all service animals when entering the UK from other nations. Each animal must meet the full membership criteria of the established international assistance dog organizations.

How Do I Prepare My ESA/Service Dog for the Flight?

Before you arrive at the airport, please take the time to prepare your animal for the flight. Virgin Atlantic strongly recommends the following criteria;

  • Documentation – have your ESA’s vaccination and medical records (treatments and tests) with you to avoid delay. Virgin Atlantic will not accept responsibility for the denial of your animal due to the lack of documentation.
  • Animal Reception Center – You will need to fax copies of your dog/animal’s paperwork to the Animal Reception Center at your airport. Click here for the numbers.
  • Special Assistance Team – three working days before your flight you will need to call Virgin Atlantic Special Assistance Team (0844-412-4455) to let them know you will be traveling with a service animal. The customer service representative will ask for the following information;  A copy of the PETS passport or non-EU official veterinary certificate if your dog is starting its travel outside of Europe. A copy of the dog’s identification card from the accredited, recognized charity and the details of the breed and weight of your dog.
  • Flight Day – please bring with you a copy of the Animal Reception Centre pre-approval letter, a safety harness, and an absorbent mat.

Note: You may also want to invest in pet insurance to help ensure your dog’s health and welfare when outside of your country.

Where Can I Fly Into With My ESA?

There are many destinations for Virgin Atlantic where you can bring your ESA or service dog. These include;

  • Antigua
  • Barbados
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • JFK (New York)
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Newark (New Jersey)
  • Orlando
  • San Francisco
  • Tobago
  • Washington DC

This airline recommends contacting their Special Assistance Department for further information on destination routes with your ESA/Service dog.

When flying into the UK, all animals must also meet the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme set out by DEFRA to avoid quarantine. Click here for more information.


You can travel by Virgin Atlantic with an emotional support animal or a service dog, just be sure to follow their rules and regulations to ensure your plans go off without a hitch. This includes booking ahead, having your dog/animal registered through one of the accredited organizations, having your paperwork ready and getting pet insurance.

Taking the proper time and channels for your ESA/service dog will save you delays and hassle down the road.